About Science in Color

Science in Color functions as an outlet for discussion by underrepresented individuals about topics ranging from recent scientific breakthroughs to the experiences of marginalized populations in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). The landscape of STEM is currently and historically lacking in diverse representation, which is a twofold hindrance; people from underrepresented backgrounds contribute diverse perspectives to the fields and, individually, potentially talented people are often discouraged or alienated because of their identities. Science in Color aims to break the stereotypes of what a scientist looks like, and provide a new perspective into the world of STEM.  

Science in Color is a husband and wife team who aim to make a difference. 



Meet the Team


Veronica Varela






As a Haitian-Salvadorean scientist, Veronica is the first person in her family to pursue higher education and received her Bachelor’s degree from California State University, San Bernardino. As a mother of two young girls, she pursued her PhD at the University of Michigan, becoming a National Science Foundation Fellow and, in addition to research, engaging in outreach and efforts to improve recruitment of underrepresented minorities. Her time at Michigan was formative; facing a struggle with a chronic illness and being met by the University with a the lack of accommodation, she made the choice to prioritize her health and left her program. Her academic experiences in STEM are what inspired her to found Science in Color with her husband and a group of friends.  


Alex Varela is a native of California’s Inland Empire, where he was born and raised. Currently residing in Michigan, he is pursuing a doctoral degree in Pharmacology at Wayne State University in Detroit, where he studies proteases in cancer. Of Central American descent, Alex is a first generation student, obtaining his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at California State University, San Bernardino. A big believer in science communication and education, Alex strives to make the scientific world accessible to people from all walks of life, especially those traditionally left out.


Alex Varela






Jonte Jones



Jonte is a first-generation college student with a bachelor’s in psychology in Ohio State and a master’s in biopsychology from the University of Michigan. As an original co-founder, he swings by the studio occasionally to contribute to the conversations.


Regular Contributors

We love our team!


Tony Larkin

Graduate student

After growing up in the heart of Georgia, Tony moved to Atlanta to complete his Bachelor’s degree in biology at Morehouse College. He is now a doctoral candidate at the University of Michigan were his research interests include understanding how our brain changes as result of interactions between our external environment with our internal self. As one of increasing few, he seeks to help alleviate disparities especially when it comes to health and minority representation in STEM. During his mental health breaks, he enjoys going to concerts and traveling, all in the name of mental health.


Jessica Chen

Graduate Student

Jess holds a BS in biomedical engineering from the University of Southern California and is currently working toward her Ph.D. in neuroscience at the University of Michigan. She is researching the design of an implant and gene therapy to treat spinal cord injury and paralysis. She is an NSF GRFP scholar with a passion for science communication. As a hardcore nerd, she lives and breathes science and is always up for a good debate.


Dr. Elizabeth Rodriguez, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar

While pursuing her Ph.D. at the University of Michigan, she worked under the guidance of preeminent PTSD expert, Dr. Israel Liberzon, using a rodent model of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). She graduated from Hunter College (CUNY), with a B.A. in psychology. While at Hunter, and was a Minority Access to Research and Career (MARC) and then a Minority Biomedical Research Support (MBRS) scholar.